The rise of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) over the last two decades, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, has necessitatedimproved prevention and response strategies for such risks. The EU-funded SoNAR-Global is a global consortium led by social scientists specialising in emerging infectious diseases (EID) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The existence of this network is important: social scientists are uniquely positioned to evaluate linkages between infectious events, political economic and ecological conditions, local communities and marginalised people. Such insights are crucial when instability (caused by infectious disease outbreaks, conflicts, or other stresses) exaggerates local inequalities, hampering effective preparedness and response efforts.
The Department of Anthropological Sciences at the University of Malta is one of 15 global partners involved in ethnographic data collection and analysis as part of the project’s Vulnerability Assessment in relation to Covid-19. The research in Malta is being led by Dr Jean-Paul Baldacchino and involves approximately 200 in-depth semi-structured interviews with individuals who have been impacted by the current pandemic, whether this is in terms of their overall health and well-being, or their financial well-being. The research seeks to identify the contextual characteristics of vulnerability particular to the Maltese context, as well as to inform policies for countering the risks people face in this regard.